First Date

Most married couples take for granted the time they spend together. Dinner conversation and time spent in one another’s arms simply go unappreciated. Couples often put precious moments off thinking that they’ll have tomorrow. But what if you didn’t have tomorrow? What if you only had one day a week to spend with your spouse?

What if you had only five hours a week?

My wife and I live under these difficult parameters. We have five hours to discuss our issues, hopes, and joys face to face each week.

In the visiting room of Attica Correctional Facility my wife and I have shared some of our most intimate moments. At a table underneath dozens of video cameras and the watchful eyes of multiple guards we have laughed, cried, and fellowshipped together as if we were in the privacy of our own home. We have created a bond that is greater than either of us have ever experienced.

Our first date occurred under these same circumstances.

I’d spent the night before picking out what I was going to wear. I must have taken out five or six shirts. The pants were an easy pick, as I was forced to wear the greens that identified me as state property. I laid the ensembles on my bunk, which consists of an inch thick blue mattress on a metal slab and a flat pillow encased in black and white stripes.

The next morning I took nearly two hours to get ready. I was doing my best not to think about the series of checkpoints I would endure before seeing this angel. I passed through secured gate after secured gate as armed guards monitored my every movement. As I entered the final electric gate I was told to remove all metal, my belt, and my shoes. After I passed the detector, I was ordered to put my hands flat on the wall, and step my legs back and apart. An officer then frisked all of me. I was finally allowed to join my visitor.

When I walked into the visiting room I scanned the area, being sure to smile to mask my anxious demeanor. The guards at the front desk directed me to row four, table three. There sat the most breathtakingly beautiful woman. She was dressed in blue jeans, a blue and white striped shirt, and sandals. My heart raced as she stood to embrace me.

Our first hug was warm but brief. We spent our few hours chatting about many things. Time vanished as we left our surroundings, entering a new realm, laughing and joking. We dug deep into each others testimonies. It was beautiful. Never have I had conversations so real and intense.

Sadly at three o’clock we were forced to end our date.

As we said our goodbyes, we hugged more intensely. Seeing her go was the most awful feeling, but it was overcome by the incredible date we had just experienced. I was left wanting more.

Our visits to this day are just as special because we value those precious moments with one another. No words need to be said. No laughs need to be uttered. As long as we’re together, that’s all that matters.

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